You will be hard-pressed to find a person that isn’t occasionally captivated by birds. Even our backyards are filled with avian life flitting back and forth, brightening our days. Between their brilliant plumage, odd behaviors, and thrilling birdsong, it’s hard not to be intrigued by these flying wonders. But even though we’re used to seeing robins, cardinals, and other common birds, these aren’t even close to the capabilities of some of the extreme birds on our planet. We’ve ventured the (virtual) world for the oddest, most powerful, and most brilliant birds this amazing planet has to offer. You’ll find that not every bird is as docile and predictable as your feathered friends in the backyard.
The shoebill stork looks like a nightmare, 5-foot animatronic come to life. Its massive, shoe-shaped bill looks like something straight out of a horror movie, and it doesn’t help that it’s often found lurking in the swamps of East Africa. People say the shoebill’s stare is so intense that it could make even the bravest adventurer turn tail and run. The shoebill stork is known for odd noises; when it clacks its beak together, it sounds like a rapid fire machine gun. But its beak is worse than its bite. Shoebill storks are very docile with humans. Researchers studying these birds have been able to come within 6 feet of a shoebill stork on its nest. The shoebill stork will not threaten humans, but will only stare right back at them. It can be unsettling, but they’re not aggressive.